Month: September 2017

I feel Alive.

I’ve always been a City Girl, so when I decided to go to a High School in the city nothing could get better in my world, of course, except for convincing my parents to buy a house downtown, and let us move. When that never happened, I moved downtown by myself four years later. I’ve been in love with this city, that is Indianapolis, for about six years now. When I announced my plans to move to the city, into an apartment on my own, the other Suburban girls didn’t understand. “Are you sure?” they asked, “The city is a scary place!”.

I’ve never seen it that way though, I find comfort in the hustle and bustle, I take peace in knowing everyone has somewhere to go, and lifes’ to live. I find encouragement in the ambulances, as they screech through the city. I see my dreams as I watch the helicopters fly through the sky. I find hope in the hospitals that surround me. I don’t feel scared in this city, I feel alive in this city.

It’s been about a year and a half since I packed up my bags, and moved downtown. In the last year and a half I’ve learned more than I ever have in my entire 19 years of life. And while I’ve never felt scared in this city, I’ve felt quite a few other things. I knew moving downtown from my suburban home, in my suburban neighborhood, surrounded by my suburban neighbors, with their suburban lifestyles, would be quite the adjustment. The four years I spent commuting to my high school helped adjust me to the views of this city, and the people it was home to, but there are some things you just can’t learn or understand by being a visitor.

I knew the day I walked out of my apartment in the dark, early hours of the morning, and without watching where I was walking, which resulted in tripping over a sleeping homeless man, that I was in for quite the ride. This city has kept me humble, forever thankful for what I have, but always reminding me to never once think I am above, and to always give when I can.

This city doesn’t scare me, and maybe it’s because I live here now and am bias, or maybe it’s because after working in EMS, constantly walking into the unknown, that you learn to fear things less, but whatever it be, I don’t leave my apartment for work and feel scared, I don’t drive through the rougher areas and feel scared, I don’t stop at gas stations and feel scared. Instead I see a growing, diverse community, with so much to offer, and teach me. Something I’ve always hoped I could someday contribute to, outside of the suburban neighborhood I grew up in. I longed for cultural diversity, and to be enhanced by my newfound neighbors who also called this city home.

This week I was reminded that the human race is innately good, that the human kind knows no such thing of hatred, or separation from birth. That these are learned traits, they are not born into us.

I had put off getting gas all week, one of my rather not so bright habits, however I’ve never run out of gas yet, so I will probably continue to push my luck. I stopped at my usual gas station on the way to work, as my gas light was on, and I had already driven 10 miles the day before with it on. I like this gas station, the gas prices are always one of the cheapest in town, they have a great selection of energy drinks, and it’s on my way TO and FROM work (imagine that!) However, if I ever took my mom or sister to this gas station they would probably be shocked that I, the tiny college girl, ever got out of my car and pumped  gas here. When I sheepishly admit to gentle giant at midnight, after our twelve hour shift that my car is on E, and I’m going to the gas station, he always sighs knowing the big brother in him will demand to follow me there to make sure I’m safe. I guess we can just say it’s not the nicest one in town, or that’s what some may think.

On Wednesday I stopped at my gas station, and ran inside and got an energy drink to prepare for my twelve hour shift. However, before I made it inside the door I noticed a woman crouched down in between the ice chests. It was a strange place to sit I thought, unlike the bench and the grassy patch on the corner, where the usual regulars reside. In my flashy uniform I was quickly pulled aside by another gas station visitor who noticed my uniform happened to be of the medical field, and asked if I would check on the woman. I did, and she assured me she was okay. I continued on my way, and pumped my gas. As I did though I noticed something; every single person that walked in the door of the gas station stopped to check on the lady. People of all different races, backgrounds, and genders. They all stopped. The people on the corner who didn’t have anything to give, and were asking for themselves, even made their way over. I made my partner drive by later to check on the woman and she had left. I am not sure why she was there, and never will, but I left that day with an odd sense of comfort.

I had that ‘told ya so’ feeling inside. I wanted to call up every suburban girl that has ever asked me if I get scared living in this city, and to tell them no. I wanted to tell them that this city, my city cares. I wanted to tell them that even in some of the most beat down places of my city, they still cared, and I whole heartedly believe they do.

I don’t believe we are born knowing hatred, or fear, or separation. I believe these feelings are learned, they are not innate.

So much talk of separation has occurred lately in the news, and media, and while I type this I know so many will feel compelled to say to me ‘Merideth you are wrong, this city does not care, this city is home to a man that pulled a gun on a police officer, and proceeded to put 11 bullets through his body killing him, for no reason.’ And while you are right this city is home to such a man, I don’t believe it is this city that made him that way, that compelled him to do such an awful thing.

I just recently finished reading ‘Stronger’ by Jeff Bauman, the Boston Bombing victim who became the face off the terrorist attack, when a photo of himself with both of his legs blown off went viral. Jeff was talking about feeling anger towards the bombers, and their motivation to do such a horrendous thing, and he states referencing the bomber, “He needed to stand up, but he blew everything up instead.” and “Setting off a bomb, or shooting up a high school doesn’t make you bigger. It makes you the smallest kind of person on earth. The kind who has to face others, because you can’t face yourself.”

I do believe these people that Bauman speaks of exist in this city, I would be naive to think otherwise. I know that this world houses some cruel people, people that desire to cause pain in the lives of others. People whose hearts and minds have been opened to some of the worst traits existent on this earth, those of separation, hatred, and evil. And inevitably some of them happen to live in my city. However, I don’t believe that this city, my city cultivates such thoughts. But then again, I could be wrong. But the strangers at the gas station, the beggars on the corner, they make me think otherwise, and they give me peace of mind.

I don’t feel scared in this city, I feel alive.

So as you debate whatever it is with your friends on Facebook, and create cyclical arguments I will just leave this here. That in the midst of all the uproar, the social turmoil that is forever existent, there are always glimmers of hope, restoration in the human kind, and peace of mind if you search hard enough, do your part, and spend less time focusing on the separation, and the arguments born from hatred, and more time on the ways we can do our part to create positive environments for all in existence.

I have hope that some day we will all be able to feel alive in our cities, and not scared. Regardless of any difference that may exist in any of us.

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I don’t do Feelings, or at least I didn’t.

I’m really bad at feelings. In fact most of the time I tell people “I don’t do feelings.” The irony, I know. After 5 years of dealing with a chronic illness you would think that I have felt so many different things, and I would be a master at them, but the fact is I’m anything but that. Part of that is my fault you’re right, but I do blame a handful of doctors and medical professionals for the other part.

You see the thing is that for six months I was told by a handful of medical professionals that the things I was feeling inside MY OWN BODY, the symptoms I was experiencing, they were all in  my head. They weren’t actually real. And I know your response to that is “oh who cares what they said, they were wrong”. But at that time, that’s all I had to go on, and as much as it killed me, I started to believe them, and question if maybe they were actually right. Maybe it really was truly all in my head. Maybe I was causing all of this.

I’m not sure why, but the other day I had a flashback to one of the worst experiences of this entire journey. We were in the E.R. one night, and by we I mean my mom and I, it had become a second home to us really, but not a friendly inviting one. We were dealing with the same stuff over and over, and just hoping that for once maybe this time, we would find the answers. My body was so weak at this point, as we were close to 5 months out from my accident and still hadn’t gotten any solid answers. So as we waited for tests and lab results I needed to use the restroom, which was down the hall. My nurse assisted me, and due to the fact that I was a fall risk had to stand outside the bathroom and watch me to make sure I was okay. (I must preface the next thing by saying that over the course of five months I had become pretty good at understanding my own body, and knowing what the different feelings alluded to, the most common being dizziness. My mom and I had worked out a plan that whenever I felt even the slightest bit dizzy I was to sit down, and then lay on the floor, that way should I pass out I was less likely to hit my head, or at least fall as hard. Of course this wasn’t always convenient, and I often looked crazy, but with no answers we had to figure out a way to do things on our own. Going to the bathroom was always one of the hardest things for me back then because it was a lot of changing in positions in a short amount of time. It meant getting up from where I was, walking, sitting down, standing back up, and walking again. It was extremely common that somewhere along the process I would pass out. I became all too familiar with using the bathroom in the company of someone else, I know right real awkward as a teenage girl.) So nonetheless that night as the nurse took me to the bathroom, I felt the wave of dizziness wash over, and I sat down right there on the bathroom floor. I didn’t make it all the way to laying down before I passed out. I awoke to a nurse that was strongly sternal rubbing me, and then proceeded to tell me to stand up and stop joking around. It was beyond my comprehension how she possibly came to the conclusion that I was joking around and faking. I am not sure how she got me back to my room but I do remember that once she did she proceeded to tell my mom that she watched me fake pass out in the bathroom, and that she watched me sit down on the floor and then lay down there. At this point I couldn’t really control my emotions anymore. I was frustrated and fed up.My mom tried to explain to the nurse who had proceeded to inform the doctor that I was faking, that I was not faking and that this was something we had worked out for my own safety, since nobody else was helping us. I didn’t feel good and I was tired of being disregarded and skipped over. I wanted to go home as nobody there was clearly doing anything to help, nor were they listening. I don’t remember much more of that night other than the fact that my mom ended up signing me out and taking me home.

I don’t do feelings.

And it’s not because I don’t feel them, because I do, stronger than most people probably. But for so long I got used to being told that my feelings were wrong, and that they weren’t real. And even though I have the answers now, and I know that my feelings were valid, and real then, I still struggle.

I struggle with feeling things. My first response is to push things away, to avoid them. And then I have to remind myself that I am human, I am not a robot, and it is okay to feel things. In fact I can feel whatever the heck I want to, and nobody can tell me that I’m wrong, or that my feelings aren’t valid, because I am human. We are all human. It is in our nature to feel things. It is normal, IT IS HUMAN.

Nobody should ever have the authority to tell someone else what they can, or cannot feel with their own body.

I am working on my feelings.

I am learning to remind myself every day that it is okay to feel whatever I am feeling. And for now that usually means me going weeks without crying until I randomly in the middle of nowhere lose it. I keep it in until I can’t keep it in anymore and then I word vomit and all the words, and thoughts, and feelings come out in one giant mess that makes no sense to anybody but me. But I am working on it, I am learning to feel them as they come. But after shoving the feelings aside for so long, and telling myself I was stronger than them, I am proud.

Because I am human.

and

Because I deserve to feel everything I have ever felt.

and

I know that now.

To Build a Desk, is to Ponder Life. 

I’m writing this from the desk I just put together in my apartment. I’m sure that statement is really of no importance to you just yet, but you see give me ten minutes and it will be. I sleep in the bed with the headboard that I sanded down and put together. I close the curtains at night that I somehow figured out how to rig together and hang up. See a trend yet….? If not let me help you, I did it by myself.

I’ve never been one to shout from the top of the mountains and self proclaim as a feminist, but I have always been a firm believer in the fact that females can do anything that males can. And that’s not so much the point I’m trying to make as is the fact that females are capable of doing things ON THEIR OWN without the help of males, or really anyone for that matter.

Growing up as a teenager that was chronically ill, and relied on a wheelchair I became pretty independent. I didn’t ask for help unless I absolutely needed it, and even then I tried to avoid it. I think a majority of this had to do with the fact that being diagnosed with a chronic illness at the age of 13 was kind of a slap in the face when it came to maturing and growing up. I didn’t really get the option to play around, those days were over when the diagnosis left my neurologists mouth. I had to trade in the sleepovers for early morning doctors appointments and clinic days, the sports practices got swapped with physical therapy appointments, and the coffees and energy drinks with prescriptions and electrolyte filled concoctions. It wasn’t a choice or an option, well I guess to some extent it was, it was either you take responsibility of your new life that now has a chronic illness diagnosis attached to it, or you ignore it all and watch your health decline until you can no longer function properly. I think the choice made is pretty obvious.

So I guess in regards to learning to be independent I took a different route than most, but nonetheless I have ended up where all my fellow females are as well, those that are chronically ill and those that are healthy.

 I would like to think that all females have a strong sense of self confidence, that we know our worth and our value. I would like to think that all females realize that they have the capability to do anything they choose with their life. I would like to think that all females understand that they do not need a man, or another woman, or anyone else in their lives to make them whole. I would like to think that all females know that they are worthy, and every feeling they have ever felt in their life is valid. I would like to think that all females felt as if they were enough, and that they have a place in this world. 

But I know it’s not true.

I know that our society has created images and ideas of what is socially deemed necessary to feel whole, or fulfilled in life. Society says that in order to feel fulfilled we need to have an abundance of materialistic items, the best of the best. That we need to have the largest groups of friends, and an agenda filled with plans every evening. That our presence must always be the best, that it is unacceptable to have flaws visible, you need to cover those up. That in order to truly be happy you need to have a significant other. That the dirty work isn’t for females, we aren’t capable of that, that is a mans job, women aren’t meant to be more successful than man.

But that isn’t true either.

You see the thing is, you alone are enough. You alone are capable. You alone can be happy, truly happy. You alone can do things, on your own, and you can do a damn good job at them! You alone can have whatever job or profession you like, you deserve to do what makes you happy. 

It’s so hard for me to see people in life, specifically females that feel as if they aren’t enough on their own. But then I realize that I often find myself thinking or feeling the same thing. Inside I know that I am enough, but society tells me otherwise, and for that I question myself. 

In a profession that is primarily males I often find myself to be the underdog. My petite self gets towered over by the big, buff, and manly Paramedics, Firefighters, and Police Officers I so often find myself working alongside with. A situation that can often be rather intimidating, and at times I feel as if I might just crumble to the ground. But I know that this is where I need to be, this is where I want to be. I may not have the muscles of the hulk as many of my coworkers do, but I am good at my job. I have a sense of understanding and first hand experience that many in my profession do not. This is where I am meant to be. 

I put together my desk tonight, and it reminded me that I am capable of doing things on my own. That the person I asked to come help me build my desk, I didn’t need, because I can do it on my own. I’ve never used a desk as a metaphor for life but I did tonight.

And as I screwed things together, and then unscrewed them because I originally screwed them into the wrong hole, with the wrong screw (don’t worry I got it eventually, also I blame the poor directions) I reminded myself that I can do this. Even though I might not always get it right the first time, and that at times it can be frustrating, and I more than likely will want to quit, I am capable. I have everything I need in my life to be successful, to feel happy, and to be fulfilled.

And I guess if it took a desk to figure that out, then my advice to you is to go buy a desk and put it together. But preferably not one off amazon that will wobble if you start to type fiercely on because you’ve gotten in your feels.

“Let her sleep, for when she awakes she will move mountains.”…….or build desks.